What is Form I-864?
Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, is a U.S. immigration form that is required for certain family-based immigrants and some employment-based immigrants. The form is used to demonstrate that a sponsoring petitioner (usually a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident) has the financial means to financially support the intending immigrant and prevent them from becoming a public charge.
Key points about Form I-864:
- Financial Support: The purpose of Form I-864 is to provide assurance to the U.S. government that the intending immigrant will have adequate financial support upon arrival in the United States and will not rely on public benefits.
- Sponsor’s Responsibility: The sponsor (petitioner) who signs Form I-864 becomes legally obligated to financially support the intending immigrant and any other sponsored immigrants, if necessary, until the sponsored immigrant either becomes a U.S. citizen, has worked for 40 qualifying quarters (usually about 10 years), dies, or permanently leaves the U.S.
- Eligible Applicants: Form I-864 is typically required for family-sponsored immigrants (such as spouses, parents, and certain other family members), as well as some employment-based immigrants who are family-sponsored.
- Income Requirement: The sponsor must demonstrate that their income meets or exceeds 125% of the U.S. federal poverty guidelines for their household size. If the sponsor’s income alone is not sufficient, they can include the income of certain household members or use assets to meet the requirement.
- Documentation: The sponsor must provide documentation of their income, employment, tax returns, and any other relevant financial information. Sponsors might also need to submit supporting documents from joint sponsors or household members if necessary.
- Supporting Evidence: The sponsor needs to provide evidence of their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, as well as the intending immigrant’s relationship to the sponsor.
- Submission: Form I-864 is usually submitted along with the immigrant visa application or the adjustment of status application, depending on the circumstances.
- Joint Sponsors: In some cases, the primary sponsor’s income might not meet the requirements. In such cases, a joint sponsor can submit their own Form I-864 to supplement the primary sponsor’s financial support.
It’s important to note that the requirements and processes related to Form I-864 can be complex, and they can change over time. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult the official USCIS website or seek guidance from an immigration attorney or accredited representative to ensure that you understand the requirements and procedures associated with Form I-864 and the financial support obligations it entails.
Do I need to file Form I-864?
Whether you need to file Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, depends on your specific immigration situation and the category under which you are applying for a visa or adjustment of status. Here are some common scenarios where Form I-864 may be required:
- Family-Sponsored Immigrants: If you are sponsoring certain family members for immigration to the United States, such as spouses, parents, children, or siblings, you will likely need to file Form I-864 to demonstrate your financial ability to support them.
- Employment-Based Immigrants: For some employment-based immigrants, especially those who are family-sponsored, Form I-864 might be required. This can vary based on the specific employment category and the relationship between the petitioner and the intending immigrant.
- Certain Diversity Visa Lottery Winners: Diversity Visa (DV) lottery winners who are applying for immigrant visas are generally required to have a qualifying sponsor in the U.S. who files Form I-864.
- Special Immigrant Categories: Certain special immigrant categories, such as religious workers, require Form I-864 to demonstrate financial support.
- Refugees and Asylees Adjusting Status: Refugees and asylees who are applying for adjustment of status to become permanent residents usually need to file Form I-864.
It’s important to note that the requirements for Form I-864 can vary depending on the specific immigration category and other factors. Some immigrants may be exempt from the requirement, while others might need to meet alternative financial support criteria. Additionally, in certain cases, joint sponsors or household members can submit their own Form I-864 to supplement the primary sponsor’s financial support.
Before filing Form I-864 or any other immigration form, it’s recommended to carefully review the instructions provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your specific category. If you’re unsure about whether you need to file Form I-864 or if you have questions about the financial support requirements, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or an accredited immigration representative. This will help ensure that you meet the necessary obligations and accurately complete the required forms for your immigration process.
What documents must be submitted with Form I-864?
When submitting Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA, you need to include various supporting documents to demonstrate your financial ability to sponsor the intending immigrant. The specific documents required can vary based on your individual circumstances, but here are some common documents that might be requested:
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency: A copy of your U.S. passport, birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or green card (Form I-551) to establish your status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
- Federal Tax Returns: You will generally need to provide copies of your most recent federal income tax returns, including all schedules and W-2 forms. If you were not required to file a tax return, you might need to provide an explanation.
- Proof of Income: If you are employed, you might need to provide recent pay stubs, an employment verification letter, or other evidence of your income. If you have multiple sources of income, provide documentation for each.
- Form W-2: Copies of your W-2 forms for the most recent tax year.
- IRS Transcripts: Some applicants might be required to submit IRS tax transcripts in addition to tax returns. These transcripts can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service.
- Proof of Assets: If you have assets that contribute to meeting the income requirement, such as real estate, bank statements, or stocks, you might need to provide documentation of their value.
- Proof of Current Employment: If you’re currently employed, provide a letter from your employer stating your job title, salary, and employment start date.
- Letter of Employment: If you are a recent hire or if your current employment is not reflected in your most recent tax returns, a letter from your employer confirming your employment can be helpful.
- Proof of Relationship: If the intending immigrant is related to you, you might need to provide documentation of the relationship, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
- Joint Sponsors or Household Members: If you’re using the income of joint sponsors or household members to meet the income requirement, they will need to provide their own Form I-864 and supporting documents.
Remember that the specific documents required can vary based on your individual situation and the specific immigration category you are applying under. Always refer to the most recent USCIS instructions for Form I-864 and follow the guidelines provided for your specific circumstances.
If you’re uncertain about which documents to include or if you need assistance with your application, consider seeking guidance from an immigration attorney or an accredited immigration representative. They can help ensure that you submit accurate and complete documentation to support your Form I-864.
Is there a filing fee for Form I-864?
There is no filing fee specifically associated with Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA. This form itself does not have a separate fee that needs to be paid to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when submitting it.
However, it’s important to note that the Form I-864 is typically submitted as part of a broader immigration application process, such as an immigrant visa application or an adjustment of status application. These applications may have their own associated filing fees, depending on the specific immigration category and circumstances.
- If you are submitting Form I-864 as part of an immigrant visa application processed by a U.S. embassy or consulate, there will likely be a visa application fee associated with the visa application process.
- If you are submitting Form I-864 as part of an adjustment of status application (to become a permanent resident) within the United States, there will be a filing fee for the Form I-485 application.
The fees associated with immigration applications can change over time, and they can vary based on the applicant’s age, category, and other factors. It’s crucial to check the USCIS website or the specific application instructions for the most up-to-date and accurate information about filing fees related to your immigration application.
If you’re unsure about the fees associated with your specific immigration application, consider consulting the official USCIS website or seeking advice from an immigration attorney or accredited representative to ensure that you have the most current and accurate fee information.